Frequently Asked Questions
How do I decide between the BScAHN Dietetics and the BScAHN Nutrition programs?
The dietetics program is for those students who want to become a registered professional dietitian (PDt. or RD), legally registered to practice in their province of choice. The BScAHN Dietetics program meets the guidelines of Dietitians of Canada so that graduates can apply for a dietetic internship and become registered. The nutrition program is best suited to those students who want to combine their nutrition studies with more business or more science so they can find jobs in industry or apply for graduate studies. You do not need to make this decision until your second or third year in the program, as the introductory courses are the same.
What courses do I need to meet your entrance requirements?
The current MSVU Academic Calendar gives details about entrance requirements but please note that the BScAHN programs for Dietetics and Nutrition require the equivalent of Nova Scotia grade XII English, chemistry, one other science (biology preferred); and grade X1 and X11 mathematics.
How long will it take me to complete the program if I am a transfer student?
This will depend on how many courses you are able to transfer from your other university degree or program. Generally it will take you three years to complete the BScAHN if you have received credit for your elective course (5 units). This is because the nutrition and the chemistry required courses must be taken in sequence. Your faculty advisor will be able to assist you in determining how to plan your courses.
What would I study to get a BScAHN Dietetics or a BScAHN Nutrition?
You would study several levels of nutrition, foods, chemistry, biology, management and social sciences. The Dietetics program also includes advanced level courses that teach students how to “pull together” all they have learned and to use this to practice dietetics. This means that you would develop and present a nutrition education project, a business plan for a food or nutrition venture, a new food product, a research proposal, and a clinical diet case study!
Are these difficult courses? How can I tell if I will be able to do them?
Some students find the introductory level courses more difficult as there is a lot of theory to understand before they can start to use their knowledge in interesting ways. The chemistry courses may also be challenging. Students who are willing to spend the time and energy to study and understand their courses are rewarded when they do well and see how these courses all fit together as a knowledge base for dietetics.
Why is an internship needed to become a registered professional dietitian?
A dietetic internship (integrated or post degree) is required to become a PDt or RD and to ensure that all the knowledge and skills necessary to practice in a wide variety of areas have been learned. Some students may elect to complete a Master’s degree with internship/practical experience to meet this requirement.
What are differences between an integrated and a post degree dietetic internship?
An integrated internship is one that is scheduled in sections and completed as part of the undergraduate program and a post degree dietetic internship is one that is coordinated by Dietitians of Canada and taken after graduation. The length of time for either program is nine to twelve months. Our integrated internship is scheduled in three levels, with level I in the summer after the third academic year, and levels II and III after the fourth year. Students in our program can graduate with a BScAHN Dietetics with Internship Education Program and be eligible to register as a PDt or RD after completing the registration exam.
What kind of job could I expect to get with my degree?
Our graduates have found careers in many different settings. Dietitians work in hospitals, long-term care, community, private practice, industry, food manufacturing and distribution, government agencies, education and research. Our graduates have also found great jobs as food service managers, as nutritionists in supermarkets, as advisors to agricultural marketing boards, and as entrepreneurs. The kind of job you can expect to get is limited only by your imagination!
What advantages does the program at MSVU offer over programs at other Atlantic or Canadian universities?
Some of our advantages include the internship education program (the first program outside of Quebec), our close links with industry and health care in the Halifax Regional Municipality (and beyond) for enriched student projects and placements, access to a large library and research network through the university library system, and a versatile, progressive and compassionate faculty that make students feel that they are part of a team.
What are some recent advances in nutrition and dietetics?
The field of nutrition and dietetics has undergone tremendous growth over the past few years as the public has become more aware of the role of food in promoting health – check out newspapers and magazines, and a whole television network devoted to the experience of food. Examples of some recent advances include functional foods and the relationship between food constituents and chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease – food is more than a source of vitamins and minerals! We also know more about how nutrients and your genetic profile interact to promote health. Even Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating is getting a new look to be more in keeping with current science!